Spring, 2008

“I can’t believe this is my life. Thirty-two years old. No career, no car, homeless…” I lamented as I sat on the couch with my legs tucked under me. “My life sucks right now!”

“I’m 32 years old. I should be at a mid-level career point…able to buy a house if I wanted to. Instead, I’m sleeping on my mother’s couch.” I finished, slumping backward.

My Mommy interjected calmly. “Tiffany, those are just things. You’re going to find a job you like and get your own place again. Be grateful that you have somewhere to go while you figure it out. God has a plan for your life, and I’m confident He’ll show you your next steps.”

The living room grew quiet as I took in what she said. Her words snapped me out of my reprieve and breathed life into me.

As usual, my Mommy’s wisdom gave me hope.

“You right Mommy,” I said, breaking the silence. My mind began to formulate a plan for my comeback. “I’m going to stay with you, get a job, save up, and move to Atlanta.”

“I thought you wanted to move to L.A.?” My sister asked.

“Atlanta is closer to home plus the film industry there is booming, I’m sure I can find similar opportunities there as I would in L.A.”

“You’ll figure it out,” Mommy said confidently. Leaning in closer, she looked into my eyes. “You’re my fighter; I don’t worry about if you gone make it. I already know you will.” She finished with quiet authority. My soul was lifted by her generous words of encouragement and faith. I was ready to take on the world.

Two months later, my mommy died while we were on a family vacation.

Our van was full of laughter and love on the way to North Carolina. On the way home, an empty seat and laughter replaced by the unbearable weight of sorrow.

I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Ruth 1:21

The unexpected death of my mother, who was also my friend and closest confidant, turned my world upside down.

I abandoned my plans to move.

The next three years were shrouded in a haze of shadows and grief as I struggled with the jolting reality that my rock was no longer just a phone call away.

2012

Four years after the death of my mother, I began to see that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. I was leaving the icky blackness of grief behind me. I started to feel hope.

At this point, I had been working for a well-known company.

2014

My corporate journey turned into a nightmare. After a lengthy battle with management, including an HR investigation, I realized that this was not the vision I had for my life.

One day while sitting at my desk, the words of my mother came back to me. You’re my fighter. I don’t worry about if you gone make it. I already know you will.

My Mommy… she believed I could do anything.

I owed it to her and to myself to live my best life. Sitting at my desk, I made a decision that would change the course of my journey – I was moving to Los Angeles.

Atlanta was my safe choice, but life is too short to be safe. L.A. meet Tiffany!

2014-2016

For almost two years, I plotted and planned my big move.

I gave up the cutest apartment in the world to save money. I got discouraged more often than not. I even went through a short period of homelessness, but I refused to be deterred.

I lived with several friends and family members until my sister was able to rent a house big enough for her son and me during my last year.

On February 28, 2016, one month after turning 40, I stood outside in the snowy cold Mid-West winter. I hugged my sister and nephew one last time as a resident of my birthplace. Our tears intermingling, we said our final goodbyes.

I was moving more than 1800 miles away.

2017

It’s been a little over a year since I moved to Los Angeles. It hasn’t always been easy, and sometimes I get homesick. Even then, I remind myself that life is a blessing, and it is my duty to live it to the fullest.

There’s a gentle breeze tonight, and as I sit on my small balcony overlooking the community pool in the Melrose Place-styled apartment I share with one of the sweetest ladies I’ve had the pleasure of rooming with, I look to the stars.

No matter what the future may hold, I’m so glad I jumped.

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